Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is the latest victim of the corporate media’s smear machine. Although a liberal Democrat, Gabbard is a retired U.S. Army major who served in a medical unit during the Iraq War. Despite a number of untenable domestic policy positions, her foreign policy instincts reflect a far more conservative predilection than many in her party’s elite appreciate. Gabbard’s skepticism about humanitarian military intervention and regime change have made her a pariah among the elite of both parties. Gabbard in January announced her plans to run for president in 2020. Even though she is an ideological leftist, the fact that she opposes perpetual warfare in places like Syria makes her prospects of winning her party’s nomination very low. What’s more, Gabbard’s track record on foreign policy decision-making since entering Congress in 2012 is far better than that of the permanent bipartisan fusion party. That alone makes her a threat to the democratic globalist elite.
Gabbard served in Iraq in 2005, a year after the American position there became mired in a brutal ethno-religious insurgency, and a year before the David Petraeus-led “surge” put a band-aid on the deep, festering wound that was U.S. war policy at the time. She has seen up-close what the hubris of America’s political elite costs the nation.
After all, the Iraq War was not just about removing (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction from a rogue state. Nor was the conflict only about ridding the world of Saddam Hussein, a tyrant who truly was among the world’s most brutal dictators. No, the war was a social engineering experiment applied by “competent” technocrats in the sterile halls of power and the stuffy Ivory Towers of think tanks in Washington, D.C.
The regional social experiment was based on simplistic logic: by applying America’s seemingly limitless military and economic power, the United States could remove the impetus for terrorism permanently by ridding the Mideast of secular autocrats. These sophomoric interpretations of the Middle East had far more influence in the White House than they should have had. Gabbard and her fellow soldiers paid the price for those flawed assumptions.
Matters worsened when Barack Obama not only continued the Bush-era policies in the Mideast, but in some cases actually expanded them. From Libya to Syria, Obama intensified the war party’s lust for limitless regime change throughout the Middle East, all in the vain hope that some form of democracy would take root.
Gabbard was elected to the House of Representatives in 2012. Yet her war experience allowed her to resist the hubris trap that so many elected leaders fall into once they are ensconced in their cushy offices. Since her election, Gabbard has been a relentless public servant and a staunch advocate for responsible statecraft. This was exemplified by her opposition to the Obama Administration’s Syria policy and calls that “Assad must go!”
As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Gabbard went to Syria in January 2017 to visit the Assad-held areas of the country. She did this because security in the supposedly pro-American parts of Syria was nonexistent. Republicans and Democrats alike were disseminating and accepting intelligence from U.S.-backed rebels, most of whom hate America. Few were asking what was happening on the other side of the civil war. Gabbard rightly believed that neither she nor her colleagues could make informed decisions about such a complex conflict without first getting a read on what was occurring within Syria—on all sides of the war.
While in Syria, she met with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Gabbard concluded that no matter how despicable Assad may be, he did not pose a direct threat to the United States. As a result, she has voted against any greater U.S. intervention in Syria.
When news of Gabbard’s meeting with Assad broke, no amount of support for gay marriage or infanticide could save her. To the Washington elite, she was out of their club.
Yet the truth is, Gabbard was doing her due diligence as an elected member of Congress. She was serving the American people, whose children and money would have been used to topple Assad. Because of her experiences in Iraq, her natural aversion to wasteful foreign policy endeavors, and her desire to best serve the American voters, Gabbard has spent years being castigated as a lover of dictators and a Putinist stooge—abuse much like that heaped on President Trump by the same corporate media daily.
In a string of appearances in corporate media outlets—from “Morning Joe” to “The View”—the hosts of these programs parroted the talking points about Gabbard’s love of dictators. Kasie Hunt even demanded that Gabbard explain why she is an Assad supporter while Gabbard sat dumbfounded at the question on the set of “Morning Joe.”
It’s sad that Gabbard, a veteran, must put up with such imbecility from our supposedly informed, unbiased media. More disturbing is that few outside of the Trump Administration have taken these corporatists to task for the danger that America’s insulated, unthinking elites pose to American national security.
Tulsi Gabbard’s domestic policy preferences make it impossible to suggest that she would be a good president. Still, she is to be admired not only for her dedicated service to this country, but also for her willingness to stand up for common sense statecraft.
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